“What’s More Important, Your Mother or God?” – A Former Member’s Story
This true story from one of our friends who is now an ex-member of the World Mission Society Church of God has been posted here with their permission. Here is our friend’s story in her own words:
I was a member of the World Mission Society Church of God for about 5 months. I wasn’t recruited on the streets like most people. I was invited by a good friend of mine. She had been a member for less than a year at the time. So after several invitations from her Ifinally said to myself, what the heck let me go check this out. I was really interested because my friend kept telling me about how this church was different because they did not deny evolution and dinosaurs. In the past I had trouble with religion not being able to reconcile with scientific evidence that the world existed for a lot longer than six thousand years old. The WMSCOG seemed to have an answer for everything.
My first study was about the Sabbath. It seemed to make sense at the time. And not being all that familiar with the Bible and not having belonged to a specific church, this made me an easy target. I was baptized the very same day. Right after that study, it was impressed upon me that if I believed everything in the study then what would be the point of waiting to be baptized. I felt pressured, but then again because it was my friend who invited me, and I knew her to be smart and anything but gullible, I felt that she wouldn’t steer me in the wrong direction.
I began going to the church to study every day so that I could finish the “basic studies”. Being the skeptic that I am, I began to think that it was weird that everyone there was always smiling and happy all of the time. I was told by some members that “once you are in the truth you are happy all of the time”. (Kinda reminds me of the cult called shiny happy people in the movie “Bubble Boy” lol). One day when I was there, I was waiting for the person who I was going to study with, and heard a member commenting to another about her appearance. She stated “if I knew we were going preaching I would have dressed better”. So I turned to her and asked what difference it made what she was wearing if she was going to “preach the Word”. She answered, “well it’s for father and mother and you always want to look your best for father and mother”. It was at that point that I realized that appearance was very important to members in this organization. I asked the person that I was studying with about the question I asked the other member and she responded that “if you are doing something for God then you should be at your best”. I thought this was weird because to my knowledge Jesus was never worried about what He wore when he preached right?
I noticed that I saw less and less of my friend as the weeks went by. I attributed this to her just being busy with other stuff. I also was really tired because I went from going to church sporadically to going everyday. I justified my going so often due to the fact that I was new and I had a lot of studies to get through before I could understand everything that was going on in the church. Fortunately for me, I joined at a time when there were a lot of these “feasts” going on. During these feasts that I didn’t fully understand, I was expected to be in the church by 4:30 am for prayer services. I would then go to work and have to come back for the 7:30 pm services. I was exhausted! Due to the increasing demands for my time from the organization, things were tense between me and my family. Of course when I told the girl assigned to study with me and watch over me (this is typical of the way they work) about the issues with my family’s concern with my involvement, she advised “this is persecution, satan will try to use the people closest to you to try to keep you from coming to the church and learning the truth”. This was disturbing. It made for a frustrating time because I had to defend why I was going to the church so often to my family. I would say that I was just going to church and there shouldn’t be anything wrong with that, or so I thought. I said that it wasn’t like I was going to be in the church 24/7, or so I thought. I was under the silly impression that once I was done with the basic studies, I wouldn’t be spending as much time there. Ha Ha Ha
Slowly but surely they tried to nudge me into changing the way that I dressed. I mean I don’t dress provocatively, I just favor darker colors (the non-shiny happy people colors :)). I didn’t exactly adhere because I really didn’t have the expected wardrobe of skirt suits or pant suits like everyone else was wearing. I still made an effort to go appropriately dressed and sort of blend in.
I also began asking “who is this Korean lady in this picture” and “who is this lady on this calendar”? The member next to me said “don’t worry about that, you will learn about that later”. This was so weird. I also noticed that people obsessively cleaned the church on their hands and knees. I was told that it was a great honor to be chosen to beautify the temple. I just thought to myself, why don’t they just use a mop…
I once noticed one of the women complaining about her weight. So I suggested that she join a gym. I mean 30 minutes a day a few times a week should do the trick. She answered, “oh no I don’t have time because I’m too busy doing things for father and mother”. I still didn’t know who this “mother” person was but I thought this was very suspect.
During one of the breaks between feasts, I decided to just attend Tuesday and Saturday services. On that Sabbath I was approached by one of the missionaries questioned why I hadn’t been there since Tuesday, and I bluntly said that I attended on Tuesday and Saturday, had finished my basic studies and didn’t see a reason to come any more often. She then said that I didn’t really need to go just to study and I should want to go everyday. I thought to myself, why would I do that? I mean I have other obligations. I came to realize that the expectation was that I be there everyday and that the only activities I should be involved in outside of the church were sleep and work. Forget about family obligations. It seemed that the only obligations were to the “church family”. At this point I still hadn’t kept a full Sabbath.
So after being there for about three months I started tithing. There was a lesson dedicated to this topic during which I asked, “who pays the pastor?”. They claimed that the pastor doesn’t get paid and that the mortgage for the church was really high (about $20,000 per month or something crazy like that). I was informed that the money was used for food, church activities, donating to the UN, etc. It seemed that a lot of pressure was put on everyone to tithe and failing to do so was like stealing from God. Then I was shown different envelopes for other types of offerings. In my head I was like I don’t make that much money! But I guessed that they assumed that I wouldn’t have a need to pay my cable bill because I wouldn’t have time to watch TV. I also hadn’t seen my friends in a long time. My involvement in the church caused conflict because I would have to choose between family functions and attending services at the church. So when I had to leave on a Sabbath to go and do something for my Mom, one of the deaconesses said, “what’s more important, your mother or God”. I said to myself, God would not make me choose. It was at that point that I became really suspicious and uncomfortable about their motives.
During one of the feasts, I was discussing the tension with my mom again. I said that I don’t lie to my mom, even if I know she isn’t going to like what I’m going to say or do. The deaconess then said, “well you know that there is such a thing as a righteous lie“. As I walked away I thought, no there isn’t a lie is a lie.
So I had just about had enough when I noticed that my friend that had invited me in the first place had been MIA for several services. Every time I questioned one of the members in the group that I was assigned to about my friend, I was told that she wasn’t feeling well. So I said to one of the girls in my group that I was going to have to take the time to go and see my friend because I was concerned. It was at this point that she became somewhat evasive and changed the subject.
Not too long after, my friend actually called me as I was on my way to one of the last feast services and told me that she wanted to speak to me and not to let the church members know that I had spoken to her. I wanted to turn the car around right away but instead I went ahead and attended the short service. Throughout the service, every time that they said the name Ahnsahnghong, I said Jesus Christ in my head. I thought to myself, they have been really evasive lately so I really need to pray for a sign to let me know if this was the place for me or not. I didn’t want to quit just because I was challenged, but all of the little things that didn’t add up suddenly snowballed.
When I saw my friend later that evening, she told me that she found a lot of contradictions about the church and that she was lied to by one of the high ranking members of the church. So that was enough for me. I had had enough of this charade. I was done! Needless to say, members would not stop calling. After not answering numerous phone calls and text messages, eventually they showed up unannounced at my doorstep. They of course tried to convince me to return to the church and do the basic studies over again from the beginning. I told them that I had all of my notes and I also had come across 1 John 2:27 that says “you do not need anyone to teach you”. One of the members basically told me that I could not understand the Bible on my own. I felt so disgusted with myself for not being able to see through their “shiny happy people” facade. At the same time I felt sorry for them because I knew that not all of them were in on what I would call this scheme to take people’s money. Having just woken up, I realized that these people who had become my friends were still stuck there. I realized that I could not be their friend because they would not have any time for me outside of the church and that was the only thing we had in common. I really didn’t want to hurt their feelings or insult anyone. I just wanted to be left alone to go on with my life. At this point I told them twice that no one will come between me and my family. They advised me that I could return whenever I was ready. But I told them that I could not be a hypocrite and go to their church and pray to someone that I did not believe in. I told them that they did have some truth in their church but it was of no use because it was mixed with lies. They gave up and left shortly after.
I hope my story helps people to avoid this organization. Jesus Christ our only Lord and Savior!
Are you a former member who would you like to share your story with us? Contact us, and let us know why you too left the WMSCOG.